NATO Chief: ‘Europeans will see no difference in their missile defense’

U.S. commitment to NATO

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  First of all, let me stress that the US decision has nothing to do with Russia. And I would like to stress three points in relation to the US announcement. Firstly, that Secretary Hagel as he announced this decision also stressed the strong and continued commitment of the US to the NATO missile defence. That commitment remains “iron-clad” as Secretary Hagel expressed it.

Secondly, as you will recall, the development of the NATO missile defence system is a so-called "phased adaptive approach" in four phases. And phases one through three will be implemented including sites in Poland and Romania. And these three phases that will be implemented will provide coverage of all European NATO populations and territory, as planned by 2018. And thirdly, and consequently, the Europeans will see no difference in their missile defence. And there will be exactly the same coverage of NATO-Europe as in the original plan. I think these three points are very important to emphasize.

We have invited Russia to cooperate on missile defence. This invitation still stands. Let me stress that the NATO missile defence system is not directed against Russia. And both NATO countries and Russia would benefit from such cooperation. So I hope Russia will take our invitation seriously. We are sincere about cooperation with Russia on missile defence. We hope that Russia will accept the invitation to develop such missile defence cooperation.

Finally, as regards an invitation to visit Moscow, the Russians have renewed the invitation to visit Russia. We are now considering dates and schedules. So hopefully, at a time that is convenient for all parties, we will have an opportunity to continue our political dialogue.

Excerpt from press conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  (photo: NATO)

Image: nato%203%2018%2013%20Rasmussen.jpg